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Radio Interview

                                     

Mike Stoudt

Music Director

WFSH

Atlanta

 

 

Mike's Career Capsule
It all started with listening to stations and mimicking DJs since childhood. “Disco Duck” wasn’t just a song to me then…it was a lifestyle. Then the REAL training began at the University of Florida – GO GATORS – where I first wet my chops on the air.

I worked as a board op overnight (and 10-second weather) guy for AM 850 WRUF. Oh, those commercials for Larry King Ester C really helped me stay awake.

While there I volunteered at 91.7 FM WJLF in the summer of ’93. After a month they hired me fulltime on evenings. Over the next 8 ½ years I worked everything from underwriting to production. I also worked my way up the air time ranks to mornings with Andy Haynes. Finally he encouraged me to spread my wings a bit. I did and landed…

In January, 2001, Kevin Avery – (my radio “Mr. Miyagi” mentor) – hired me as copywriter and weekend jock at 104.7 the Fish in Atlanta. Within a year, I was promoted to on-air weekday evenings and music director. Lots of hard work and various pieces of blackmail on different bosses help me remain a fixture here.

 

1. Tell us about your market and how it is unique?

Atlanta’s a fantastic town with a diverse group of people – I believe we’re over the 4 million mark now, and still growing! With that comes over 23 major stations that we battle daily.

 

2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you personally about Christian radio?  

Knowing the music we play can be a tool to get people thinking about God; can encourage and help people get through their troubles; and can simply be entertainment. It’s also fulfilling knowing that DJs (like me!) can be involved in that process in not only a handful of people, but THOUSANDS!

 

3. How do you personally keep the ministry in the business?

I’m not too involved in the day to day sales side of things. I LOVE being on-air and probably would not stay in radio if I had simply a desk job. But since I do work with adding music and scheduling, it can sometimes seem like it’s just a job. There was a book by Brother Lawrence called “Practicing the Presence of God”. I read it while in college and it boiled down to glorifying God while doing even the most mundane things. I think if you have that perspective, the ministry will automatically flow out of the daily business.

 

4. What is the criteria that determines if a song receives airplay on your station?

Our play list is completely listener driven through consistent research.

 

5. What kind of promotions work best for your station?

According to the best promotions director in the country, our own Taylor Scott,

"...a successful promotion should satisfy both client demands and serve programming’s objective. The trick is to make it all work while keeping the station clutter-free." Having that type of tight-rope to walk may explain why Taylor has a nervous twitch in her eye when ever you say the words 'Added value'.

 

6.  How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve Christian radio?

I think most of the record labels are doing a great job servicing Christian radio – everything from adding new singles to PromoOnly to providing product for giveaways. The record reps are doing a better and better job of communicating with us, and I hope that we are as well.

 

7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?

The minority and ourselves.

Basing what you do with your station on the opinions on the vocal minority is a problem. Radio is a mass medium. You can’t please everyone. Boil your mission down to what’s important and focus on that. For us, it’s playing the music that people want to hear (based on hard data) and being safe for the whole family. That’s it. We play the music our listeners want to hear and we do it in a safe environment. We’re not a theological institution or church denomination and we don’t tackle the debatable issues. We’re simply there for others to use as a tool, an encouragement, or just for fun.

Christian radio is making gains across the country. If there’s an obstacle, it won’t be because someone takes us down. It’ll be because we blow it up from the inside out.

 

8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air personality today?

Being a great communicator to his/her audience by being real, relatable, empathetic, compassionate, funny, caring and encouraging.

 

9. What (if any) other Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators today?

I admire our sister station over in Dallas, KLTY – they’ve been a force to be reckoned with for years. Chuck Finney and crew do a fantastic job there…and now top 5 in target demo for Arbitron ratings to prove it! They’re at the top of my list as communicating and relating effectively to their audience.

 

10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?

Hopefully in the top 10 of their markets! On a station by station basis, if each are able to make music research a priority; able to cut through the ‘Christianese’ and speak like normal people to their listeners…and relate…and be real, then they’ll win over the audience without a problem. It takes time and consistency. People will notice…and listen more!

 

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